Tagged: Sydney

Real world vs. Facebook’s world vs. Google’s world — Updated

Black Island Kempt Head

Facebook continually pesters me to entrer the “city” where I live, but rejects Kempt Head, Ross Ferry, Boularderie, and Cape Breton all of which are more-or-less accurate. It will allow me to enter Halifax, Sydney, or Baddeck, none of which is accurate.

Contrast this with Google, which embraces locations with admirable granularity. Google effortlessly adopts islands, villages, hamlets—even micro-locations like Frankie’s Pond and Parker’s Beach—as long as it sees real people using them.

This may seem a small thing, but it strikes me as a profound difference in the cultures of the two organizations. One constantly cajoles you into ill-fitting pigeonholes. The other looks at what you and those around you are actually doing, and continually updates and adjusts to this new information.

(Photos: Above: Black Island (in Gaelic, Island Dhu), Kempt Head, in the real world. Below: Black Island, Kempt Head, on Google Maps.)

Black Island


Marla Cranston points out the Purcell’s Cove dies not exist in Facebook World.

If Calvert, NL, native Jenn Power were so inclined, she could list Ferryland as her home town, but this would be like asking her to accept Big 8 in place of Diet Coke. Far worse, actually.

Newly minted Margaree Centre resident Stephen Mills cannot list that village as his current residence, but Facebook World does allow “Margaree,” a community that, as Mills points out, does not actually exist.

There is no plain “Margaree” —— just the directional or topographic variations: North East Margaree, Margaree Valley, etc.

Interestingly, Mills contends that

[A]ll the Margarees were a bureucratic decision at some point. Names like Frizzelton and Fordview described the locations at one point.

Nova Scotia from space

A view of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and parts of Maine and Quebec, taken from the International Space Station. Click the image for a larger version.

The bright spot at the left side is Montreal Quebec City;* that on the middle right is Halifax. Other bright spots include (left to right) Bangor, Saint John, Moncton, and Charlottetown. Close inspection reveals Truro, New Glasgow, Antigonish, Port Hawkesbury, and Sydney. The St. Lawrence River appears as a string of lights heading northeast from Montreal, and the Gaspe Peninsula is outlined in light. I believe the aurora borealis accounts for the greenish hue on the horizon.

A Contrarian reader supplied the image without identifying information, and I’ve been unable to pin down its source precisely. Based on a similar image taken a few hundred miles to the southwest however, I believe it was taken on January 29 by Expedition 30, the current crew of the International Space Station.

H/T: Shine boy.

*[Correction] Contrarian reader Bill Swan thinks the light blob on the left is Quebec City, not Montreal. He’s probably right.

Air Canada kneecaps Sydney

This is a tired tune, but indulge me for a few bars. A few weeks ago, a Halifax physician went on Air Canada’s website to book two round-trip flights: one to Sydney, Nova Scotia, 306 kilometers away; another to San Diego, 4,724 away (via Toronto).

Air Canada charged $827 for the Sydney flight; $548 for SanDiego. That works out to $2.63/km for the Sydney flights vs. 11¢/km. for SanDiego.

Years ago, some Sydney friends attended a wedding in St. John’s, NF. Another wedding guest came from Cairo, Egypt. Guess who paid the lower fare?

Try doing business with that handicap. Or as my 10th grade math teacher would have said, “Capitalism fails again.”

Biking made easy in Montreal

One of more than 300 self-service Bixi bike rental stations in Montreal.

From April to November 30, the city will rent you a sturdy, well maintained, three-speed bike for $5 a day (or $28 for 30 days; $79 for a full year). A swipe of your credit card produces a five digit code to unlock one of the 5,000 available bikes; Return your bike within 30 minutes to one of the ubiquitous rental stands and there is no charge. It is a fast, easy, practical way to get around this bustling city, and the Bixi bikes are everywhere.

The city-owed system recently expanded to Washington, DC, and Arlington, VA. Could Halifax or Sydney get in on the action? We have a few drawbacks compared to Montreal:

  • Smaller population
  • Less density
  • More hills
  • Shorter biking season
  • Helmet laws
  • Vastly fewer bike lanes.
  • Montreal has 502 km. of bike lanes and paths, and recently announced plans to spend $10 million installing another 50 km.

    Food for thought.

    Look who’s come to stay

    Pidgeons on the Big Fiddle

    A flight of pigeons has taken up residence inside Sydney’s iconic Big Fiddle, with the usual unfortunate consequence for the soundboard of Whitney Pier artist Cyril Hearn’s creation.

    Nova Scotia giraffes

    Taylor-2-200 Some Nova Scotia submissions to the website OneMillionGiraffes.com, where Stavanger, Norway, resident Ola Helland is using crowdsourcing to try and win a bet that he can assemble one million images of giraffes in a year. He is currently at 800,000. Taylor-1 15 halifax-200 peter meredith 24-266 Taylor 15 Yarmouth-266 Alina 17 Halifax-200 Dalbtron3000-200 Dalbtron-anti-266 Joshsa-Sydney-166 Lydia 18 - halifax-166 Lydia-2 halifax-155 Left to right, top to bottom, first two images by Taylor, age 15, Halifax; then Peter Merideth, 24, Antigonish; Taylor again; Alina, 17, Halifax; next two by Dalbtron3000, 29, Antigonish; Joshua, 31, Sydney; and the last two images by Lydia, 18, Halifax.

    Fuzzy’s Fries

    Friday Night on Sydney’s The Esplanade. Don’t ask for ketchup.


    CBC Radio iPhone app finds the Maritimes

    The CBC Radio iPhone app has finally been updated, and now includes live streams from Halifax (and Fredericton and Saint John, but not Sydney or Charlottetown), and from at least one location in every Canadian time zone.

    The app allows on-demand access to many good CBC Radio shows, but alas, only to “highlights” of Ideas, whose producers have for some reason been glacially slow to grasp the importance of the Internet’s time-shifting potential for this program.

    Hat tip: Scott Gillard.